I’ve been having some trouble in one of my closest relationships. I am asking that we work through a problem that stares us in the face daily and is becoming too painful to ignore. I find no consolation in knowing that confronting and resolving this issue will make our relationship deeper, stronger and more intimate. Instead, my emotions flip between wanting to curl up and cry or lashing out in anger. I feel stuck, not sure of my next step. Where do I go from here?
From the time I was ten years old, I’ve known that I could always find emotional peace and safety with my horses. So, today, I drove my troubled self out to be with my horse, Nautic. I brushed him and took him out to graze on the new grass that had sprouted up after our first big rainfall. As I watched and listened to him eating, I experienced the familiar, warm, wonderful magic of being in a horse’s presence: my mind quieted, my heart calmed and I felt peaceful.
Is being in my horse’s presence really magical? A study by the Institute of HeartMath confirmed that bidirectional “healing” occurs when we are near horses. By measuring electromagnetic fields, researchers found that the heart has a larger energy field than the brain. A horse’s heart is five times bigger and stronger than a human’s and directly influences human heart rhythms. Researchers also found that the physiological benefits that occur when interacting with horses included: lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of neurotransmitters (pain suppressors) and reduced feelings of anger, hostility and anxiety.
Psychologists have identified a similar phenomenon in human-to-human interactions influencing heart rhythm called, entrainment. It’s defined as; the process that activates or provides a timing cue for a biological rhythm. I’ve witnessed entrainment by watching a mother calm her crying infant by gently holding its head against her breast so the baby can hear her heartbeat. The peace and stability of one being seems to override and quiet the fear and distress of another. Although researchers may not say it this way; a calm peaceful presence is stronger and able to neutralize fear and distress.
As Nautic is standing in the sun munching on sweet, green grass, my heart and my breathing respond to his rhythm. I experience gentle physical and emotional healing by simply being near my horse. In this peaceful space I reconnect my body-mind-soul and find clarity. I know what the next steps I need to take as I peacefully face the challenges I have today. My horse’s heart and peaceful presence are bigger and more powerful then my troubled self. As I stand in his wordless, calm presence, I receive amazing grace.
I think about loved ones and my clients and want to be more like my horse when I am around them: having a big, strong peaceful presence and giving them space and time they need to find answers as they regain their balance and emotional footing.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. -Rumi